Lace is big right now. Using a lace inset rather than allover lace is a nice way to dip a toe into the trend, as in this Valentino point d'esprit and jersey top ($790).
If you do go whole hog, there is the issue of lace being transparent. You can fully underline or go for a sweetheart look, as in this Milly Chantilly Lace Caterina Top ($275).
Or you can combine the lace and sweetheart trends, as I did with these projects. An upper lace yoke is a more common look, but it can also be reversed as in this Love Moschino Lace Sweetheart Jersey Dress ($324.51.
I drafted this from my t-shirt block, but McCall 6435 has since been released if you don't want to draft (I made the black top in mid-December). As you can see, on my first try I made the sweetheart too flat and it was not covering my bra, so err on the side of curvy.
The back is just cut straight across. The biggest decision I had to make was whether to cut the yoke above or below the armscye. I looked at a bunch of pieces online and it seems to be done both ways. I decided to cut it under the arm as I thought it looked a bit more luxe.
The black version, made of a sturdy poly/lycra ($6.99/yd from Uptown Fabrics on eBay) and a piece of embellished netting from the fabric swap at the PR DC meetup, I sewed entirely with the serger, wanting to minimize seam allowances. I should note in response to Dilly's comment that I first sewed the sweetheart point with the regular sewing machine and then used the serger to stitch and trim very close to that original stitching; I don't have the skill to achieve a clean point using the serger on the first pass.
The pink version is made of a bamboo rayon from Fabric Mart ($6.99/yd), which I bought in 2009. I was pretty disappointed with the flabbiness of the knit so it has been in stash for quite a while (I made a nightgown out of some of it). I was concerned about the bulk of a serger seam on the sweetheart of the rayon, so I stitched it by machine. I trimmed the yoke's seam allowance and then turned both seam allowances up and hand-stitched only to the underlining of the yoke to keep the stitches invisible. In a beefier knit, I would just serge.
I finished the neckline of the black version with fold-over elastic--my first successful application! I found a two-step process was necessary, rather than trying to sandwich.
I went a little trim crazy on the pink version. I used the flutter sleeve from Burda 03-2008-113. I've never actually made the pattern but I used the sleeve before on my Vogue 8379 wrap dress. I used a zigzag stitch to sew narrow stretch lace from Sew Sassy to the (raw) edges from the inside, making sure that the lace peeked over just a little, pink thread in the top and white thread in the bobbin. Then I switched the thread and zigzagged again from the right side close to the inner edge of the lace.
For the neckline I used a fancy picot elastic ($0.90/yd) I got from Steinlauf and Stoller the last time I was in New York. I thought it might be too much, but in the end I preferred the look to a twin needle finish.
This is a fun, easy t-shirt variation that is on-trend at the moment.
You can make the upper part sheer, as with my black version, which I wore to several holiday parties (be sure to wear a bra with nice straps!), or do it for day with an underlay as in my pink version, or reverse the lace as in the Moschino above, or do it as colorblocking. It's a surprisingly versatile pattern!
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.